Friday, February 3, 2012

when junk wax is the furthest from it, part one (of two)

The junk wax era gets a bad rap. Sure most all the cards produced from 1981 (the start of the era, I for one believe) to 1996 or so (the decline of overproduced products) are virtually worthless save for some of the bigger rookies and scarce cards. In fact, I don't even like using the term 'junk wax' because its simply not junk, there's just a ton of it. There are certainly many gems mixed in with the 1988 Donruss, the 1989 Topps and the countless other sets from the era. Baseball card collecting was in its heyday, so its only natural that companies over produce their cards.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a big geek for baseball history. History class in high school was the only subject I excelled in, everything else was average. So it's a natural fit that I take my love of history and add it to my hobby. It seemed that the overproduction era was the BEST time for baseball historians to get their fix on cardboard. The monstrous (in both size and popularity) Conlon Collection spanned five years (1991-1995) and spawned many sets. One of my favorite issues and I hope to complete it soon. I need the final two series of cards, 991 and up.

I did manage to pick up two smaller box sets from the same era and today I plan on showcasing one of them.

1994's Origins of Baseball set, put out by the American Archives Co.
At 100 cards, this set has a ton of information about baseball's lengthy history. As you can see from the scan of the box above (which is really nice by the way), it spans 1744 to 1899. So much history here and the backs are very lengthy so it's almost like a book in card form!

Check out some of the highlights I've picked out:
Connie Mack as a player! Every card is a sepia toned photo or drawing (for really early cards). In fact, I think some of these are the pictures used on some of these players Old Judge cards. If you are able, click on the picture check out the back of the card. Read the story about William Hoy, a deaf player, incredible.

Also team cards!
Team cards are everywhere in this set, I'd have to say about 25. Each with their own tale of how they came to be and their successes in championships and such.

But the reason I even found out about the set and my favorite card of the bunch:

I did a quick eBay search for some Brown cards and came across this one, complete with the picture of his hand. They never show that on any card I've seen before and really only adds to his fascinating story. I saw the card and saw that it had come from a small box set. A quick search and I found the whole set brand new for $18.95 with free shipping. A bargain if you ask me because I really can't wait to read all these card backs and really geek out over the vast amount of information here.


  1. Those are great. Coincidence that the Hoy card talks about pinch running since I've been researching a player who may have only appeared one season in that capacity. You may have just driven up the price of those cards, if there are any more out there. Great find!

  2. I never saw these before but they look really nice.

    Cool pick up.

  3. The 3-fingers Brown card is worth the price of the set!

  4. Those cards are AWESOME!! I'm jealous.

    1) I love the early history of baseball, much like you.

    2) You rarely see cards of these guys. I think I've got four King Kelly cards. Considering he was one of the greatest players of the 1800's, that's not many at all.

    I really want to pick this set up now, none on ebay though. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

    PS-- Thanks for the link to my blog (again) as well! I'm not huge on the term "junk wax" either, but it's alliterative with "gems", so it fit. But I mostly use the term "overproduction era" in my posts.

  5. I've never heard of this set, but now I'm lusting...

  6. I bought this set about a year ago. It was all stuck together, but, still - it's a very cool set!